I was at a meeting on Sunday with a soul, who is regarded by many of our sports administrators as a “pestilent” fellow, those administrators who I consider aren’t lovers of the truth. As we discussed some salient issues, one of our would-be table tennis stars joined us and it was obvious our host wasn’t impressed by her dress sense. A knicker, a pair of slippers etc to a meeting where you are coming face to face with an individual for the first time? I felt sorry for the individual as our “host” had to give a lengthy lecture on “athletes and packaging” when there are no directors and direction, our athletes are just blown by the wind and they pray that one day they will hit the jackpot and have their lives transformed forever.
With this still heavy on my mind, two days later I went to attend a jawjaw session I had signed to be on, the CAMPSBAY SPORTS BUSINESS FORUM . At least for once there was a sane gathering of people who actually know, believe and are ready to go all out to let Nigerians know that it’s not enough to pump adrenalin at sporting events but the financial capabilities of sports is actually life changing and destiny transforming in NAIRA, DOLLARS, POUNDS, YEN, EUROS ETC.
The beauty of the event was the even representation of both genders and generational divide, conscious enough to bring about the much needed paradigm shift. The atmosphere was colourful, present was an assemblage of highly intellectual human beings and of course – NIGERIANS. The venue betrayed the vastness of the vision and mission but on a second thought actually laid credence to the biblical principle and advice – though your beginning was small, your latter days shall greatly increase. The might of a vision is not directly proportional to its beginning. If Telema and Tonte of Two Reports could give us the data and statistical analysis of growth in attendance and interest over the last editions, one would know that it can only get bigger and better.
It’s obvious that a good thing is germinating and ready to take the nation, continent and the world by a storm, this I saw in the openness of information dissemination, the intense contribution, the practical expertise of the panelists (not those that have an idea but those that are decision makers and drivers in this industry) and the experience and exposure of those seated in the audience. Over the years, this has been the cry of many, that the journalist is not all about running, commentating, taking pictures, writing but also making decisions that shape our lives and destinies.
Journalists and those in the sports industry are wasting away in Nigeria because the only form of recreation they enjoy among themselves is to organize sporting events – by that I mean play football, organize one seminar during a period and after which we wait for another edition of an event to bring the egg heads together. Journalists have diverse backgrounds, we have Engineers, Statisticians, Doctors, Lawyers, Farmers, Business owners, Bankers, Leaders of industry, CEOs, Mathematicians, Linguists, Production experts, I mean experts in their various fields all-converged in this noble industry. Alas we have been reduced to mere opinion seekers instead of us being opinion molders and agenda setters.
For once, one found himself in an environment where your job description wasn’t limited to pursuing the ball, news or covering or reporting an event but sit ,listen, peruse, get one’s brain , mind and body involved in intellectual discourse. That I say is the need of the hour, its not about just organizing and agonizing for events but when we know and embrace the business side like the English and Americans do, our lives and nations will be the beneficiaries. We are a movement of souls that can easily effect change not the politicians. We have been at our mediocre best and satisfied with twitter verification, popularity on radio, enslaving our lives while our bank accounts don’t speak volumes neither do they reflect the magnitude of our skills and inputs but just summarize how others view and evaluate our relevance, even when they say things to the contrary.
Many established Sports Companies could have initiated this kind of noble and intellectually engaging forum years ago, as an avenue for sustainable education and enlightenment to those in the industry so that we won’t be blindfolded while a few sell our collective enterprise for a morsel of bread. The CAMPBAYSBF initiative is a welcome development and a deliberate effort to force us to see the money making power of what is done in the industry and not to “siddon” look, while the legitimate largesse pass us by but to be participants in all processes that lead to making sports the big business it is the world over.
Thumbs up to the Panelists
The Panelists – IHUOMA NWIGWE – of Self Life., ENEFIOK UDO-OBONG – of Fitness Options, SOLA OMONAYAJO – of April Laughs and BUNMI GEORGE – of Shreddedgang, were worth listening to, these are some of the best brains you can find anywhere in the world, their training transcends our shores, their expertise based on practical application of their knowledge and experience was enriching and worthy of note is that this panel of discussants sit on almost a billion naira empire. It’s a challenge to do more, dig deep, exhume the facts as they are, and do proper analysis of events and sportainment.
For us at SPORTSDISCOURSE, our slogan says it all “Redefining Sports Engagement”. We believe it goes beyond salaries, passion, involvement but also making life count, by exhuming the goldmine that is inherent in the sports industry and applying it to our lives and times so as to have in our lives, families, friends, the industry a meaningful and enduring legacy. There is money to be made beyond passion and emotions.
There is more to sports as we were reminded; by all contributors on Tuesday in the quiet environment of GRA Ikeja; nutrition, equipment, sourvenirs, management of athletes, promotion of events, facilitating and training, entertainment, venue, security, food, drink, so vast an industry and so unlimited in network and earnings.
To the Chief strategist at CAMPSBAY – Lolade, kudos for the vision and to the partners especially the twins of Two Reports, who Ope Adeyemo called up some years ago to see the possibility of anchoring a novel sports show involving them, I salute your courage in delving into where sports saints fear to tread – the data and statistical analysis of sports and events surrounding it. To all the partners, the buddies (Deji, the Italian Mafia etc) that have been so busy ever since they took their destinies into their hands and embarked on a journey to fulfill their potentials after taking proper value of who they are and their worth, kudos and to the one-man gang, Ankara wearing Pooja; who believes that it can be done; sports communication is not rocket science, thumbs up and to all worthy partners, this is a great idea and a catalyst to moving our industry to the next level. We are egg heads whose knowledge and expertise should be tapped and used to further the development and growth of the industry and the nation at large, sports is a mighty industry which when properly “harnessed” can create jobs and generate employment, income and revenue across board above, better and beyond any other sector in this country.